I’d like to share this excerpt from a comment on the Orange Juice Blog (scroll down to the bottom of the post) by Anaheim activist Ricardo Toro. He writes about his experience during public comments at last week’s meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections:
“I followed stating that as a latino I feel that the city council composition does not adequately represent latinos, and that the new council should consider saving taxpayer money by settiling the lawsuit.
The latinos members of the commision present at that moment jumped on me, that latinos have been represented, recently by Ms Galloway. Later I found that they are the ones appointed by Ms Eastman. The other latino who came late to the meeting was also against districting; he is the one appointed by Ms Murray. Overall the majority of this commission is not pro-district, reflecting the political vision of the council members who appointed them.”
Reading Mr. Toro’s claim that he was “jumped on” made me wonder if we attended the same meeting. At the Citizens Advisory Committee meeting I attended, there was indeed a Ricardo Toro who expressed those sentiments during public comments – but no committee member “jumped on” him.
What did happen was committee member Gloria Ma’ae calmly and respectfully disagreed with Mr. Toro’s contention that in the absence of a councilmember of his ethnicity, he was not represented on the city council.
Here is what Ms. Ma’ae said:
“As a Latina, I feel very fortunate that we have had plenty of representation, such as Bob Hernandez, [Richard] Chavez, Lorri Galloway. The Bobs were just the prior council to this current council, and, also, as far as the districting, there are many possibilities from what I’m hearing in these meetings – I am learning a lot about what our options are, and we haven’t even heard them all, yet.
So I would like to ask you to have some patience, and keep an open mind, and wait to hear what the experts and the two speakers that we’re going to have today from Vista and Modesto, and see what their input is, and see what we might be able to come up with, what kind of recommendation we can make that’s in the best interest of all, not just the Latino community, for everyone. There are many different cultures in this city, and personally, I want too be represented as an individual, as a human being, as a resident – not just as a Latina.”
Yeah – she really jumped all over him.
You can watch her comments for yourself on the video of the committee meeting, starting at the 19:23 mark. Not only did Ms. Ma’ae NOT “jump” on Mr. Toro, but she expressed totally mainstream views for more in synch with the vast majority of Anaheim residents than Mr. Toro’s racially-tinged viewpoint.
Mr. Toro complained on Orange Juice that the committee is not pro-district. Well, they aren’t supposed to be biased in favor of any particular system. That’s kind of the point of the exercise.
This process makes clear that core supporters of the ACLU litigation view the world through race-colored glasses: only a Latino can represent a Latino, a view that is more consonant with the structure of the parliament of apartheid South Africa than representative government in the United States.